Proper diagnosis before any treatment is carried out by a healthcare professional is paramount, so why should it be any different when it comes to chiropractors? The answer is it shouldn’t.
When visiting a chiropractor for the first time you should not only expect them to study your spine, but also your lifestyle, functional movements and events that may be contributing to your pain or discomfort. A proper diagnosis of the cause of your symptoms is needed in order to develop an effective treatment plan for each patient.
One of the ways in which we help diagnose patients at AlignLife is by taking x-rays. X-rays allow us to determine, not only the cause of symptoms, but also guide us when it comes to manipulation of the joints. An x-ray is taken when we believe it is absolutely necessary to help diagnose our patients.
X-rays show a number of things that a physical exam on its own cannot. For example, I may have a patient that has been diagnosed with, or is at risk for, osteoporosis, or a patient may come to AlignLife that has sought care previously, but is yet to experience relief from their symptoms and, in order to find the cause of the long-standing pain, an x-ray is the best tool. It may be that a patient has sustained an injury or that they have already been diagnosed with a joint disease, such as arthritis, which causes joint pain, but the extent of their illness is unknown and also necessary to project how long a treatment plan will need to be. An x-ray is likely to help inform the type of treatment for any of the scenarios above, providing critical information that will have a significant impact on the treatment plan or, if required, referral. That said, it is just one tool of many that when combined with a comprehensive history, chiropractic and physical exam can help turn a differential diagnosis into a clearly defined diagnosis.
Once x-rays have been taken it is rarely necessary to repeat the those films within the next few years. With that being said, if you have received x-rays prior to previous treatment by a chiropractor, or any other healthcare professional for that matter, you should request a copy of these so that you can present them in the future if needed.